Yongin: Japanese champions Nippon TV Beleza secured a history-making AFC Women’s Club Championship title, producing another excellent performance to earn a 5-0 win against Australia’s Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
Beleza captain Mina Tanaka netted a superb hat-trick, with Sara Ito and Kokona Iwasaki also getting on the scoresheet, as the rulers of Japan’s domestic scene demonstrated their class to the rest of the Continent.
The result gave Masato Nagata’s side a final tally of seven points, creating an unassailable four-point lead over second-placed Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels, who will close the tournament against Jiangsu Suning later on Saturday.
MD3 Preview: Jiangsu Suning Ladies FC vs Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels
Yongin: With one match remaining in the inaugural AFC Women’s Club Championship, there will be an air of excitement, but also mystery, for Jiangsu Suning and Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels ahead of their clash on Saturday.
Depending on the result in the earlier match between Melbourne Victory and Nippon TV Beleza, the FIFA-AFC Pilot Tournament’s final match could either be a tournament decider or a dead rubber.
If Beleza win their match they will be crowned champions, but a Melbourne win or draw opens all sorts of possibilities for both the Red Angels and Jiangsu, who both remain in contention for a historic piece of silverware.
Ueki aims to replace World Cup heartbreak with Asian glory
Yongin: Nippon TV Beleza wonderkid Riko Ueki has revealed her determination to capture the inaugural Asian title in Saturday’s potentially decisive AFC Women’s Club Championship clash against Australia’s Melbourne Victory.
The 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup-winning forward says it’s up to Beleza to bring the title back to Japan and reinforce the country’s reputation as Asian’s women’s football powerhouse.
Claiming the title would provide Ueki with a positive end to a rollercoaster year, which has included the highs of a trophy-laden campaign for Beleza and a senior international debut for Japan, as well the heartbreak of missing the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup due to a last-minute injury.
Maher sees bright future for Asian women’s club game
Yongin: Melbourne Victory’s Grace Maher said she hopes the AFC Women’s Club Championship becomes a regular part of the Asian football calendar, after she became the first player from an Australian club to score a goal at the Continental level on Thursday.
Maher opened the scoring in her side’s 1-1 draw with Chinese champions Jiangsu Suning to write her name into the history books and the promising midfielder sees a future where many more players will have the chance to follow in her footsteps.
Tokyo: Japan international Mina Tanaka completed a perfect domestic season, earning the Nadeshiko League’s Most Valuable Player Award for the second successive year.
The Nippon TV Beleza captain won the accolade after scoring a league-best 20 goals to lead her side to a record-breaking fifth consecutive title, three points ahead of Urawa Reds.
Tanaka - an AFC Women’s Asian Cup winner in 2018 but left out of the Nadeshiko FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 squad – has now won back to back MVP Awards and four consecutive scoring titles in Japan’s top-flight competition.
2nd AFC Women’s Football Conference 2019 ends on a high note
Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) dedication to raising the standards of women’s football in Asia was further underlined at the 2nd AFC Women’s Football Conference 2019, which successfully ended in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday.
The three-day conference, with more than 70 participants from the AFC Member Associations, covered various important topics including key case studies from expert speakers from FIFA and UEFA who shared insights, ideas and future plans for the sport.
The 2nd AFC Women’s Football Conference started on a lively note with the keynote session themed ‘Dare to Dream’ setting the tone before FIFA shared its blueprint on women’s football development in Asia.